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The 23 Best Ways to Quit Smoking

Not sure how to quit smoking cigarettes? Try one of these 20+ ways to stop smoking and start your path towards a healthier, smoke-free life.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to make an honest list of why you like itPhoto: Shutterstock

Make an honest list of all the things you like about smoking

Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write them on one side; on the other side make a list of all the things you dislike, such as how it can interfere with your health, work, family, etc., suggests Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D., director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Think about the list over time, and make changes. If you are brave enough, get feedback from family and friends about things they don’t like about your use of cigarettes. When the negative side outweighs the positive side, you are ready to quit.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to make a list of why It won't be easyPhoto: Shutterstock

Then make another list of why quitting won’t be easy

Be thorough, even if the list gets long and discouraging. Here’s the important part: Next to each entry, list one or more options for overcoming that challenge. For instance, one item might be: “Nicotine is an addictive drug.” Your option might be: “Try a nicotine replacement alternative.” Another reason might be: “Smoking helps me deal with stress.” Your option might be: “Take five-minute walks instead.” The more you anticipate the challenges to quitting, and their solutions, the better your chance of success.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is setting a quit datePhoto: Shutterstock

Set a quit date

Want to quit smoking? Write a “quit date contract” that includes your signature and that of a supportive witness.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to write all your reasons on an index cardPhoto: Shutterstock

Write all your reasons for quitting on an index card

Here are some to get you started: “My daughter, my granddaughter, my husband, my wife…” You get the idea. Keep it near you at all times.

Did you know that text messages could also help you quit smoking?

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to stop buying cartonsPhoto: Shutterstock

As you’re getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes

Instead, only buy a pack at a time, and only carry two or three with you at a time (try putting them in an Altoids tin). Eventually, you’ll find that when you want a smoke, you won’t have any immediately available. That will slowly wean you down to fewer cigarettes.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to keep a list of when you smokePhoto: Shutterstock

Keep a list of when you smoke for a week before quitting

Also note what you’re doing at the time and how bad the craving is to see if specific times of the day or activities increase your cravings, suggests Gaylene Mooney, chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to prepare a list of things to do when a craving hitsPhoto: Shutterstock

Prepare a list of things to do when a craving hits

Suggestions include: take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car, clean out a cupboard or closet, have sex, chew a piece of gum, wash your face, brush your teeth, take a nap, get a cup of coffee or tea, practice your deep breathing, light a candle. Make copies of the list and keep one with you at all times so when the craving hits, you can whip out the list and quickly do something from it.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to quit when you're in a good mood.Photo: Shutterstock

Quit when you’re in a good mood

Studies find that you’re less likely to be a successful quitter if you quit when you’re depressed or under a great deal of stress.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is throw out anything that reminds you of smokingPhoto: Shutterstock

When your quit date arrives, throw out anything that reminds you of smoking

That includes all smoking paraphernalia — leftover cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays, cigarette holders, even the lighter in your car.

We asked 12 Ex-Smokers to Reveal What Helped Them Quit for Good. Check it out!

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to see all the money you are savingPhoto: Shutterstock

Put all the money you’re saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar

You want to physically see how much you’ve been spending. Earmark that money for something you’ve always dreamed of doing, but never thought you could afford, be it a trip across Canada or a first-class ticket to visit an old college friend.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to switch to decaf coffeePhoto: Shutterstock

Switch to decaf until you’ve been cigarette-free for two months

Too much caffeine while quitting can cause the jitters.

Need more incentive to quit your coffee? Here are 11 Things That Might Happen to Your Body if You Switch from Coffee to Tea

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to think of how you overcame past challengesPhoto: Shutterstock

Think of difficult things you have done in the past

Ask people who know you well to remind you of challenges you have successfully overcome, says Dr. Lieberman. This will give you the necessary self-confidence to stick with your pledge not to smoke.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to carry snacksPhoto: Shutterstock

Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you

In place of smoking cigarettes, try sunflower seeds, sugar-free lollipops, or gum, or carrot or celery sticks if you’re concerned about weight gain. You can also switch your cigarette habit for a nut habit, and eat four nuts in their shell for every cigarette you want to smoke. This way, you’re using your hands and your mouth, getting the same physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is drinking herbal teaPhoto: Shutterstock

Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette

The act of brewing the tea and slowing sipping it as it cools will provide the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine. Or carry cinnamon-flavoured toothpicks and suck on one whenever a cig craving hits.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to play solitairePhoto: Shutterstock

Instead of a cigarette break at work, play a game on your computer

It takes about the same time and is much more fun (although, like cigarettes, it can get addictive). If your company prohibits games like that, find another five-minute diversion: a phone call, a stroll, or eating a piece of fruit outdoors (but not where smokers congregate).

Check out our free online games here!

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to visualize playing tennisPhoto: Shutterstock

Picture yourself playing tennis

Or go play tennis. British researchers found volunteers trying to quit smoking were better able to ignore their urges to smoke when they were told to visualize a tennis match.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to create a smoke-free zonePhoto: Shutterstock

Create a smoke-free zone

Don’t allow anyone to use tobacco in your home, car, or even while sitting next to you in a restaurant. Make actual “No Smoking” signs and hang them around your house and in your car.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to post this listPhoto: Shutterstock

Post this list in a visible location in your house

Whenever you’re tempted to light up, take a look at all the ways smoking can damage your health:
• Increases risk of lung, bladder, pancreatic, mouth, esophageal, and other cancers, including leukemia

• Increases risk of health conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure

• Increases risk of diabetes

• Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease

• Affects mental capacity and memory

• Contributes to thin bones

• Increases likelihood of impotence

• Reduces fertility

• Affects ability to smell and taste

• Results in low-birth-weight, premature babies

• Increases risk of depression in adolescents

• Increases your child’s risk of obesity and diabetes later in life if you smoked while pregnant

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to change your routinePhoto: Shutterstock

To minimize cravings, change your routine

Sit in a different chair at breakfast or take a different route to work. If you usually have a drink and cigarette after work, change that to a walk. If you’re used to a smoke with your morning coffee, switch to tea, or stop at Starbucks for a cup of java—the chain is smoke-free.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to use avenaPhoto: Shutterstock

Swing by the health food store for some Avena sativa (oat) extract

One study found that, taken at one millilitre four times daily, it helped habitual tobacco smokers significantly decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to communicate your feelingsPhoto: Shutterstock

Tell your friends, coworkers, boss, partner, and kids how you feel

Don’t bottle up your emotions. If something makes you angry, express it instead of smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you’re bored, admit to yourself that you’re bored and find something energetic to do instead of lighting up.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is acupuncturePhoto: Shutterstock

Make an appointment with an acupuncturist

There’s some evidence that auricular acupuncture (i.e., needles in the ears) curbs cigarette cravings quite successfully, says Ather Ali, N.D., a naturopathic physician completing a National Institutes of Health-sponsored postdoctoral research fellowship at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. You can even do it yourself by taping “seeds” (small beads) onto the acupuncture points and squeezing them whenever cravings arise.

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One of the best ways to quit smoking is to not give upPhoto: Shutterstock

If you relapse, just start again

You haven’t failed. Some people have to quit as many as eight times before they are successful.

Originally Published in Stealth Health